Systems Design Engineering 2024

Sophia ChenHello! My name is Sophia and I'm a SYDE '24! In my 1A term, I lived at CMH (double). My first co-op was as a Marketing Analyst at a start-up in downtown Toronto. I also took my 1B term completely online as a result of the pandemic. If you have any questions about residence, co-op and/or online terms (or anything else really), don't be afraid to shoot me a message! I'm on insta as @soaphia.chen and my email is at the very end of this blurb :)

Waterloo Engineering in one word:


I choose Waterloo Engineering because:

It felt like home! I was accepted into all the programs I applied to (not to flex, sorry), including engineering programs at two other Universities (hint: they are close to Mississauga). However, after attending all the open houses and completing both a CHEM and SYDE shadow day at UW, I decided that I liked the atmosphere at UW best. It's different for everyone and I highly suggest you visit your choice universities and complete shadow days (offered by UW Ambassadors! + for other unis just shadow a friend unofficially). Open houses are very informative but I think getting first-hand experience is how you'll realize if you truly vibe with the courses, the people, the campus etc. ALSO, the co-op program is great.

The best thing about my program is:

The community!! SYDE is truly a family. We have mentors from upper years that share with us their experiences and we can always ask them for help. In addition, SYDE is fairly small (<100) and so we are all pretty close with each other. Our class reps organize study sessions and crash courses nearing exams. There's always this stigma around UW Eng about how competitive it is and "cutthroat" it could be but I have not experienced any of that in SYDE. We all help one another; it's chill.

About my Co-op experience:

So far, I've completed one co-op at a start-up in downtown Toronto where I worked as a Marketing Analyst. There, I shadowed UI/UX designers and took part in design sprints. It was a great experience! Working is a lot more fun than studying tbh (no homework!! + money :D).

I wish I had known before I came:

They really don't lie when they say university is a challenge compared to high school. I remember hearing about this a lot and I just thought 'eh, it can't be THAT bad'. I had stellar grades in high school and was part of many extracurriculars on top of 2 part-time jobs and I was not prepared. Not to scare you or anything!! I just don't think I was in the correct mindset at the beginning of my 1A term and I struggled a lot with keeping up, getting back into gear (I was still on vacation mode), and mental health as well. Be prepared for your grades to drop. Be prepared to struggle a little. Be prepared for a lot of hardwork and putting a lot of effort into learning.

Outside the classroom, I’m involved with:

Outdoor Ultimate Frisbee Intramurals, UWFM design team, Engineering Ambassadors. When we get back on campus I'd like to get a little more involved!!

One more thing about me:

I still don't know what I want to do in the future. It's a-okay to have no clue, we're all figuring out. Currently, I think I'm really into UI/UX design but that can change with time. That's what clubs and co-op are for :)

Contact me:

University of Waterloo